The Stetson women’s soccer team opened up Atlantic Sun Conference play with a win, defeating North Florida by a score of 1-0 on Friday night at the Athletic Training Center. Senior Kait Jones scored from sophomore Danielle Hurme in the first half to lead the Hatters to the victory.
“I was proud of them,” Stetson head coach Manoj Khettry said of his team. “They started well, and they competed well from the get-go. I think it was a well-deserved win.”
Stetson (3-5-1, 1-0-0) snapped a three-match losing skid, earning a win in its first A-Sun contest of the year. The victory matched last season’s total for the Hatters in both conference wins (1) and overall wins (3).
“We’ve played well at times and we haven’t gotten positive results,” Khettry continued. “Today wasn’t necessarily our best performance in terms of the quality of soccer we produced, but the quality of the goal we scored was fantastic, [and] I thought we created a number of really good opportunities.”
The Hatters created a number of quality chances throughout the game, but it was one midway through the first half that put Stetson on the board, and led to the 1-0 victory over North Florida (3-6-2, 0-1-0).
Hurme, who came off the bench to play 68 minutes on Friday night, controlled the ball just past midfield and found a perfect lane to slot it through. Her pass sliced through the Osprey defense to a sprinting Jones, who found time to settle the ball and put it by Megan Dorsey.
“[Danielle Hurme] came into the game as a sub,” Khettry said. “We ask subs to give us a spark, to lift us, and she did immediately with her play. That ball, a 25-30 yard ball on the ground with her left foot, splitting two defenders, into [Kait Jones’s] run, what a quality pass [that was].”
Jones’s goal in the 27th minute proved to be the game-winner, her second of the season. The senior forward scored the game-winning goal when Stetson topped Troy 2-1 in overtime back on August 25th. The scored was the sixth of Jones’s career.
An aggressive match by both teams, the Hatters continued to fight through halftime. Both Stetson and UNF had their chances, but neither was able to capitalize.
A sliding save by senior Victoria Troccoli to break up a good chance for the Ospreys early in the second half was likely UNF’s best opportunity to even things up.
Stetson, meanwhile, had opportunities to extend its lead in the second half, namely a cross from senior Alyssa Welsh that found the head of sophomore Mara Keomanivane in the box. Keomanivane’s attempt missed just wide of the goal and the Hatters were forced to hang on to their 1-0 lead for the final 16 minutes of the contest.
Troccoli finished with three saves in the contest, recording her third shutout of the season. Dorsey totaled four saves in the loss for UNF.
“We did a great job of challenging for balls in midfield,” Khettry said. “I saw a great deal of effort defensively from individuals and collectively. You could see in their eyes that they weren’t going to be denied. They wanted to win. They wanted to get three points. I’m really proud of them for that.”
Stetson will welcome Jacksonville to the Athletic Training Center on Sunday for a 1:00 p.m. match. The game will be available on HatterVision with Ryan Rouse on the call.